One of the things we love about Spain is the wide variety and great quality of food. While planning our itinerary, Dexter made sure we visit Cal Pep as he’s dined here a few years back and really, really loved it. Chef and owner Josep Manubens Figueras or "Pep" has mastered authentic Mediterranean cuisine and without a doubt continues to fascinate his diners.
We arrived at the restaurant around 9 in the evening and were greeted by a very long queue. Cal Pep doesn’t do reservations so it’s best to plan ahead and be prepared to wait. The restaurant is rather small, diners sit on high stools at the bar as the servers wait on their drinks and food. The open kitchen creates a welcoming, casual atmosphere but more than that - an overly delicious smell of grilled everything in the air!
We were offered the tapas selection for 35 euros each, to which our server asked if we wanted mainly seafood or meat. We opted for seafood as seafood in London comes expensive. Amazingly, our server just kept bringing us food, we didn’t even have to look at the menu. And yes, that's Chef Pep himself!
Our evening started off with white wine and pan con tomate or bread with tomato, a rather simple and typical recipe in Catalan cuisine. Then a tidal wave of shellfish followed: razor clams, mussels, and clams. It came as no surprise that the seafood was exceptionally amazing. The jalapenos were grilled to perfection, while the steak and patatas were a great meat option. What stood out from our dinner was the cuttlefish and chickpea stew with its very bold flavours!
The restaurant's light, open-kitchen layout made the bar the ideal seating area to chat with the chefs, fellow travelers and locals. Some may label them as a tourist trap, but believe me, with food this good, we'd gladly get stuck inside!
We ended our dinner with desserts our stomach couldn't hold anymore followed by another bottle of wine to call it an evening. It was one of those dinners that left Dexter and I with big smiles on our (red) faces. We'd definitely come back here the next time we visit Spain. If you're looking for the best tapas in Barcelona, Cal Pep is the place to go.
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